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UK Police Test 'Temporarily Blinding' LASER 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-sufficiently-permanent-values-of-temporary dept.
esocid writes "Called the SMU 100 it costs £25,000 and sends out a three-meter 'wall of light' that leaves anyone caught in it briefly unable to see. Designed by a former Royal Marine Commando, it was originally developed for use against pirates in Somalia. While tasers and CS gas work well over short distances the laser is said to be effective at up to 500 meters (1,640ft). Being targeted by the beam has been compared to staring into the sun before being forced to turn away. Paul Kerr, managing director of Clyde-based Photonic Security Systems, which came up with the design, said 'If you can't look at something you can't attack it.'"
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UK Police Test 'Temporarily Blinding' LASER

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  • by InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:51PM (#38360762)
    hi-tech human abuse?

    Yes, point lasers at me and blind me. That's really healthy. Why does all these news always come from UK?
  • Reflection? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ark1 (873448) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:54PM (#38360818)
    I'm sure someone will figure out a way to reflect (mirror?) back to the source.
    • Re:Reflection? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bowling Moses (591924) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:59PM (#38360938) Journal
      "I'm sure someone will figure out a way to reflect (mirror?) back to the source."

      I guess this means mirrored sunglasses are going to make a comeback. Or did they already? I don't pay attention to fashion.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        "I'm sure someone will figure out a way to reflect (mirror?) back to the source."

        I guess this means mirrored sunglasses are going to make a comeback. Or did they already? I don't pay attention to fashion.

        Why, they'll be banned like the hoody!

        'ere, e's wearin' mirrors an' a hoody. Bloody terrorist is what 'e is!

    • by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:05PM (#38361034)

      I'm sure someone will figure out a way to reflect (mirror?) back to the source.

      Source the to back (mirror?) reflect to way a out figure will someone sure I'm.

      • you know what they say: blindness in, blindness out

        also, how much you wanna bet that if you DID turn a mirror on a cop using this, that you would be found guilty of a felony.

        the state has rights now; citizens simply have to stay out of the state's way.

        sort of a 'bulldozer concept'. get out of the way or get harmed.

        this is what we have created and this is what our kids will inherit.

        I weep for humanity, a lot, these days. I see all this ending very badly for us as a species.

    • by wervr (712696)

      or focus it back into the source.

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      > I'm sure someone will figure out a way to reflect (mirror?) back to the source.

      Yep. and make it a parabolic reflector at that. Increase the intensity many-fold.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I'm thinking more along the lines of sunglasses that work specifically at the frequencies put out by this device.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      That is pretty easy. A 3-meter "wall" of light will reflect from a nice Corner Reflector [wikipedia.org] straight back at them. Hell, crinkled tin-foil might even work well enough. I imagine the police using it will have eye-filters to prevent being blinded themselves, however, since some reflections will happen in any case. Assuming they aren't completely incompetent, of course.
    • I was beginning to think the same thing.

      The same weapons that are available to the police (and militairies) are generally available to the public.

      There's only a certain amount of abuse you can hand to the general public at any protest or mass gathering. There's usually more protesters present than there are police. It wouldn't surprise me, if at some point the crowd turns on the police. Its only going to lead to serious injury and/or death. I'm surprised and glad that there has been restraint by the public.

  • If you can't please people: blind them.

    • by mark_elf (2009518)
      It would be fun to enjoy this while being treated to the sound cannon. Watch out, occupy, next up is the "smell launcher" and the "taste catapult".
      • I see an easy way to combine this 'smell launcher' and 'taste catapult' into one device, using renewable resources. Can fire trucks plug into manholes for their source?
    • If you can't please people: blind them.

      Well, yeah, the Geneva Convention [wikipedia.org] doesn't apply to citizens, only enemy troops.

      Seriously, though - the US is smashing protests with riot police and trying to do away with habeus corpus, the UK is turning blinding weapons on its citizens, the rest of Europe has a lit fuse in its fiscal powder keg - maybe "business as usual" has run its course.

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision

        Temporary != permanent. Which is why the US (and Britain) are already using these weapons in the field in combat.

        Doesn't necessarily make it right, of course, just not a clear violation of basic human rights.

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      If you can't please people: blind them.

      Then there's collateral damage, the innocents caught in the line of fire sort of thing, as people cannot resist looking at an incident...

      Nothing to see here, move on .. oh, right...

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:56PM (#38360862)

    Unless, of course, you're also going to be revved up like a deuce (or wrapped up like a douche).

  • by eexaa (1252378) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:56PM (#38360866) Homepage

    Why does it look like a (laser) sniper rifle?

  • Just don't let it be used by the traffic police!
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:56PM (#38360882)

    Why not just project goatse images to make everyone close their eyes?

  • by residieu (577863)
    Tell that to DareDevil
  • Large mirror. Optionally, parabolic.

  • by EkriirkE (1075937) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:59PM (#38360928) Homepage
    I think suicide bombers would disagree.
    • As well as pretty much every COD player.

      Flashbang = fire wildly in all directions.
  • Is there any sort of eye protection for laser weapons like this that can be made inexpensively, for use by protesters and the like?

    Something less unwieldy than welding glass, perhaps tuned to the laser's spectrum?

    • by Imagix (695350)
      Or polarized lenses tuned to the frequency. If you're handling even slightly higher powered lasers, they're a must-have.
    • by geekmux (1040042)

      Is there any sort of eye protection for laser weapons like this that can be made inexpensively, for use by protesters and the like?

      Something less unwieldy than welding glass, perhaps tuned to the laser's spectrum?

      Sure, I'm certain something can be made, but the instant this "weapon" turns into a Government contract, expect the price tag on that solution to increase by about 10,000%, so "inexpensively" kind of goes out the door...

    • This weapon will be ineffective against Dark Helmet.

  • Just like baseball bats became a huge trend on Amazon during the UK riots, something tells me mirrored sunglasses may be the next big purchasing trend in the UK.
  • by TheHawke (237817) <rchapin&pelicancoast,net> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:00PM (#38360962)

    Past the first person with eye problems (particularly photosensitive people) being blinded permanently....

    • by tgd (2822)

      Past the first person with eye problems (particularly photosensitive people) being blinded permanently....

      Eyes are a lot more durable than most people think. Even staring at the sun *won't* cause permanent damage, contrary to what your Mom may have told you. What it will do is give you a sunburn on your retina, and being somewhere you can neither get aloe on, or scratch or anything else... well, yeah, that'd suck. But it goes away. The sun isn't bright enough, nor the area of your iris large enough, to create enough heat to cause damage.

  • Mirrors.

  • by avandesande (143899) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:04PM (#38361014) Journal

    Wouldn't it be easier just to deploy those bulldozer thingies? Why beat around the bush?

  • This will be very popular because blind people are sooooo much easier to hit with a baton.

  • aaannd... now that I know about this, I'll just put some cheap flip-up dark filter glass on my piratical AK's scope, and now I have a convenient aim point, even if I couldn't otherwise see you!

  • What is the wavelength of this laser? And were do I buy glasses? Thanks.

  • nice (Score:4, Funny)

    by MagicM (85041) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:15PM (#38361250)

    So it's like a flashbang [wikipedia.org] but without the bang. That seems kind of... HOLY CRAP IT LOOKS LIKE A SNIPER RIFLE I WANT ONE!

  • Does it work against unmanned Predator drones?

    If so, put me down for half a dozen.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:21PM (#38361418) Journal
    This seems like a terribly ill-thought-out scheme(except in that it might succeed in separating some police departments from rather a lot of the public's money, in exchange for a slightly more rugged version of a standard green laser, in a butch sci-fi plastic rifle case...)

    Unless the laser is a tightly focused dot(in which case it won't be much use against a crowd) its intensity will vary rapidly with distance. In order to not be a complete toy at operationally useful ranges, it will very likely be downright dangerous at closer ones. Luckily, cops are technical experts and models of restraint, so that won't prove to be a problem.

    In a similar vein, since lasers are a reasonably common occupational/hobby hazard these days, laser-protective eyewear, designed for strong attenuation of the common laser type of your choice, with minimal impact on general vision, is cheap and readily available. In order to have any effect on somebody wearing such, you'd likely need alarmingly higher power levels than you would need to have the same effect on an unshielded subject. So, either ~$20 eyewear gains you immunity to this fancy tech toy, or this fancy tech toy is powerful enough to stun protected users and fry retinas on everybody else. Brilliant.
    • by Biff Stu (654099)

      Unless the laser is a tightly focused dot(in which case it won't be much use against a crowd) its intensity will vary rapidly with distance. In order to not be a complete toy at operationally useful ranges, it will very likely be downright dangerous at closer ones. Luckily, cops are technical experts and models of restraint, so that won't prove to be a problem.

      The parent is technically wrong. The parent doesn't understand Gaussian beams [wikipedia.org]. If a laser is tightly focused, the far-field divergence is large. The larger the focus, the less the divergence. A visible beam collimated to 5 cm diameter or so will stay collimated for over a kilometer.

  • really!?

    That's the logic?

    What about if someone has a gun, they may just start firing towards the general direction of the blinding light, hitting innocent bystanders,...
  • by quax (19371) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:37PM (#38361744)
    One of the most depressing aspects of the Iraq war was the large number of civilian drivers that were fatally shot at check-points [iraqwarlogs.com].
  • by nege (263655) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:38PM (#38361768) Journal

    Don't laze me bro!

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @05:49PM (#38362016)

    Now we can immobilize EVERYONE within 500 meters whether they're doing anything wrong or not, such as journalists and other so-called "innocent bystanders". Surely any person within 500 meters of a public disturbance is up to no good. All good citizens always stay at home where they belong. What a jubilant triumph for the brave defenders of our glorious homeland!

  • by mathmathrevolution (813581) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:05PM (#38362346)

    Now we've got the blinding light weapon, and the deafening sound weapon, [wikipedia.org] and that Ray Gun that makes your skin feel like it's on fire [wikipedia.org]. All this massive R&D going into novel crowd control technologies. It's almost as if the US Government anticipates needing fancy new riot gear. Wonder why that could be.

  • by Thaelon (250687) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @06:23PM (#38362606)

    Somalian pirates, uppity citizens, same thing.

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